By Aishwarya Mishra, Rang De Hyderabad Chapter Member
On 31st January, I attended TEDxHitechCity along with Rang De co-founder Ram, and Rang De Hyderabad Chapter member, Bharathi. Ram and I had not registered earlier and were quite apprehensive about our entry into the event. Thanks to the event organizers, we were able to register on the spot. All three of us sported Rang De tees. Event organizers were also kind enough to help us distribute Rang De Experience Vouchers and bookmarks to the audience. Thanks again for the gesture.
Proceedings started off with an enthralling dance presentation by Smita Madhav. Two of presentations that followed left us, to be frank, bewildered. However, the stage was also set for some awesome talks. Prosenjit Ganguly, Neeraj Raj, Vasudeva Verma, Sharat Chandra, Syed Maqbool Ahmed, Jyotirmaya Sharma, Kanthi Kannan gave beautiful and thought provoking presentations.
For Rang De, the T-shirts, vouchers, and bookmarks played their part in generating interest in Rang De. Many people came up to us with queries like “So what exactly is Rang De”. Followed by questions like “How does Rang De ensure the investor gets his money back”, “How does Rang De ensure the money reaches the right person”, “Can we suggest borrowers”, “Do you have a chapter in Bangalore” (Yes we do — in fact a very active one).
One question that made me think for a while was “Why should I invest in Rang De when the returns are only 2%. Is it not charity then?”. Frankly speaking I had not thought “much” about that point of view. My reason for investing in Rang De were pretty straightforward
i. I am not a supporter of charity
ii. Rang De connects me to people in need of small loans which are repaid
iii. I can withdraw the money that has been repaid or I can re-invest it
iv. I share the enthusiasm and belief of people at Rang De — Knock Out Poverty
Rang De is not charity because in the Rang De concept, I am not making a person dependent on me. I am doing my bit to make someone independent. I am helping someone restore his/her self esteem and sense of worth. The fact that I get a 2% return on my investment just reiterates the fact that our notion that people at the Bottom of Pyramid do not have a faster way out is wrong. That is why we call it a Social Investment.
To sum up — Zero Charity, Low Investment, Moderate Financial Returns, Invaluable Social Returns.
Thanks to all who showed interest in Rang De and also joined us subsequently.